TEXAS CITY, Texas — The Captain of the Portof Houston/Galveston has opened the bay to all traffic Thursday after multiplecleanup assessments and input from the Texas Department of State HealthServices.
A current Broadcast Notice to Marinersinstructs all boaters that the safety zone remains in affect, however allrestrictions are lifted except to transit using safe distance and minimum safespeeds in the vicinity of any oil spill response or salvage operations and toavoid all areas of sheening or visible oil. If any oil is sighted, boatersshould report it to the National Response Center at 1-800-424-8802.
While all recreational activities, includingswimming is open, the DSHS does advise people not to swim in areas where theycan see oil.
The DSHS stated that there is no indicationthat seafood in the marketplace has been impacted by the oil spill. For moreinformation please visit www.dshs.state.tx.us/news/updates.shtm.
After storms Wednesday afternoon and eveningslowed cleanup efforts somewhat in the Ports of Texas City and Galvestonbecause of safety concerns, responders quickly ramped up their operationsduring the first hours of daylight to resume cleaning contaminated areas,Thursday.
The rough weather is expected to continue tosubside throughout the rest of the week, and into the weekend, allowingresponders to continue cleanup efforts. Mariners are also advised as they aretransiting through the port to keep a watchful eye out for protective boom andother response equipment floating in their path. If found, please report thehazard to navigation to the Coast Guard on VHF Ch. 16.
Weather conditions closed 5 of the 6decontamination stations established for boats in the area, Wednesday evening,but all reopened as the weather calmed today. Forty vessels in total have beencleaned since Saturday's spill, with 62 more in queue.
A vessel decontamination plan has beenformulated to assist vessels that may have been impacted by oil. The sites ofthe stations are Pelican Cut, Galveston and Bolivar. To schedule a vesseldecontamination call (832)-244-1870.
A second Incident Command Post wasestablished in Port O'Connor, Texas, Wednesday, and are directly responding toany possible local area impact. For more information, contact the Matagorda BayJoint Information Center at (214) 225-8007.
Volunteers are expected to begin beingutilized Friday morning. 949 volunteers registered to help search theshorelines for pockets of oil, birds or other wildlife that may have beenaffected by the spill. These volunteers will report this information to theUnified Command, who will then send response crews with proper training andequipment.
Wildlife responders currently include expertsfrom U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and areresponding with rehabilitation, husbandry and stabilization trailers stagedalong the Texas City Dike, Bolivar Peninsula and the Phoenix Pollution ControlFacility. Responders have found 45 birds that were dead on arrival to thestabilization trailers, and they are currently rehabilitating 12 birds.
The Coast Guard investigation into theincident is ongoing.
For claims, call (855)-276-1275.